Once a candidate is selected they are sent to what Glover called Astronaut Boot Camp.
Selectees are called astronaut candidates until they finish the astronaut candidate training requirements, which is a two-year program. There are five core areas in the curriculum: International space station systems, foreign language training, robotics, T-38 fully qualified Team Member, and candidates have to be capable of doing spacewalk training at the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory, one of the world's largest indoor pools used for mission planning, procedure development, hardware verification, astronaut training and refinement of time-critical operations necessary to ensure mission success during spacewalks.
"When we are looking at applicants, of course we've got people who have got the minimum academic requirements that we mention in the application process," said Williams.
We are also looking for people who are explorers and like to do things that are a little bit different. There is a vast variety of things that people do to make it sort of a sure bet that you are a person who is a little bit comfortable doing things that are a little bit odd.
-Capt. Suni Williams
And for Sailors, most of the conditions they operate in could be considered odd. Glover said that living on board a ship, in a submarine, a tent, any austere condition is already a step in preparing for life as an astronaut.
"To anybody out there who looks at the application and thinks for a moment they want to do this, I would say apply, apply, apply," said Williams. "There is just no reason you shouldn't apply, and don't be discouraged if you don't get in the first time around. We will probably have selections every couple of years or so as the program gets solidified, so keep applying. And don't worry if it seems like time is going by and I'm getting a little older. We are sending people who are established in their careers so we can have sure bets that they are good leaders, they're good followers, they play well together, they are team members."
For Glover, a relatively new member to the team, it hasn't quite sunk in that he is an astronaut, but for Williams, who was selected to the program in 1998, it sunk in during her first trip into space.
"I actually don't think it sinks in until you are on that rocket and the engines light," said Williams. "For those 7.5 to 8 minutes to get to space you are on the high of that rollercoaster. When you start to float you are like, 'oh my God this is the most incredible thing.' But once you are up there and you are working, you are just that guy doing your job and when you come home you're just that guy here doing your job."
However, the absolute coolness of the job is not lost on either of them, and they also love seeing what they do represented on the big screen. Both were big fans of Matt Damon's character in the Martian.